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European Union opens new anti-trust case against Google

The European Union has filed another antitrust charge against Google over alleged market dominance abuses. The charge accuses the search engine giant of blocking competitors’ advertisements from appearing on some sites.

European Union expanded its probe into Google on Thursday by filing a third antitrust charge against the US tech giant.

The latest complaint accused Google of abusing its dominant position in the search engine market to benefit its own online advertising and shopping businesses.

“Google has come up with many innovative products that have made a difference to our lives,” said EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager. “But that doesn’t give Google the right to deny other companies the chance to compete and innovate.”

On Twitter, Vestager confirmed that a “statement of objections” had been sent to Google. Google and its parent company Alphabet now have 10 weeks to respond to the complaints.

Vestager said Google “has hindered competition” by limiting the ability for competitors to place advertisements for their services on third party websites.

Separately, the European Commission’s investigation found that Google favored its own comparison shopping service in its general results page. This means that consumers might not be receiving the most relevant results for their searches.

“If our investigations conclude that Google has broken EU antitrust rules, the Commission has a duty to act to protect European consumers and fair competition on European markets,” she said.

“We’ll examine the Commission’s renewed cases and provide a detailed response in the coming weeks,” a Google spokesman said.

In April, the EU filed charges against the Silicon Valley firm over Google favoritism in its Android mobile phone operating system.

Google’s programs AdWords and AdSense have come under EU fire after competitors complained about unfair ad exclusivity clauses and restrictions on other advertisers.

The two programs are crucial revenue generators for Google, which turned over $75 billion (67.3 billion euros) last year.

rs/msh (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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